Birding in the greater Pretoria and Johannesburg area has become incredibly popular over the last 5-10 years and really offers an excellent diversity of species. The varied habitats make day trips as well as 2-3 day trips extremely productive. Roughly 535 species have been recorded over the last decade within the Wider Gauteng area.
The grasslands, wetlands and rocky hillsides in the southern areas can be an excellent place to start. Combining the beautiful Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve and the well-known Marievale Bird Sanctuary makes for a very enjoyable days birding.
Suikerbosrand NR offers species such as Red-winged and Grey-winged Francolin, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Sentinel Rock-Thrush (Winter), Yellow Bishop and the stunning Malachite Sunbird. The surrounding rocky hillsides and woodlands are excellent for Bokmakirie, Cape Grassbird, Cape Weaver, Red-throated Wryneck, Common Scimitarbill and Ashy Tit. Marievale is a bird sanctuary within a wetland system, it has a number of bird hides and good viewing areas. Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Pied Avocet, Cape Shoveler, Hottentot Teal, Goliath Heron, Great-crested Grebe and Grey-headed Gull can all be expected. We often target trickier species such as African Rail and the secretive Red-chested Flufftail.
A combination of different woodland habitat (thornveld, thickets, riverine woodland and some mixed woodland) ensure that the northern parts of Gauteng province are very productive. Good numbers of species in the ‘Bushveld’ include various Shrikes, Waxbills, Starlings, Cuckoo's, Warblers and Whydahs.
Birding spots can include Borakolalo National Park, the famous Zaagkuildrift road and the Kgomo-Kgomo floodplain, Rust de winter Nature Reserve, Dinokeng and Rooiwal areas as well as local Pretoria sites such as Rietvlei Nature Reserve and the Pretoria Botanical Gardens. We will often visit a combination of sites during the day depending on the time of year and time allowed. Examples of a few specials that we will most likely encounter are: White-throated Robin-chat, Barred Wren-warbler, Acacia Pied Barbet, Temminck's Courser as well as summer species such as Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Icterine Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Dwarf Bittern and many more. Sought after Warbler species such as Thrush Nightingale, River and Olive-tree Warblers can be targeted in February and March.
One of the more exciting areas in greater Gauteng is the Eastern region. A general assortment of grassland and woodland species can be seen at birding sites such as Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, the Wilge River Valley as well and further north the broad-leaf region of Mabusa and SS Skosana Nature Reserves. These sites can deliver many of the more common wider Gauteng birds as well as a great number of specials.
Some of our target species can include: White-bellied and Denham’s Bustard, Short-tailed and Striped Pipit, Cuckoofinch, Southern Bald Ibis, Freckled Nightjar, African Cuckoohawk, Shelley’s Francolin, Green-capped Eremomela, the mystical African Finfoot and both Melodious and Flappet Larks.
Full day: R2500 (1 person) + R500 for every additional person (max 3 persons)
Half day: R1900 (1-3 persons)
Big Groups: can be arranged, please contact me directly to discuss options.
4x4 Clearance Vehicle
Fuel + Tolls costs
Coffee & Tea
Picnic style breakfast + lunch + basic drinks can be organised for an extra cost of R200pp.
Any combination of day trip birding sites can be combinedfor a 2 or 3-day trip to see the best of the region on one trip. There are somegood accommodation spots in the region which are great to make use of to limittravel time between various sites. A popular region to spend a couple of daysin is the northern parts: Combining the Rust de Winter, the Zaagkuildrift road, Kgomo-kgomo floodplain and Borakolalo National Park over a couple days will certainly produce close to 200 species at any time of year.
This Long-tailed Paradise Whydah was photographed on the Zaagkuildrift road!
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